When you receive your freeze-dried buttermilk starter, you have some time before it is necessary to activate it. Buttermilk cultures last longest when stored in the freezer. Click here to find out How Long Cultures Last.
Once the starter has been activated, buttermilk is generally good for eating up to 2 weeks, when stored in the refrigerator.
For re-culturing using the Cultured Buttermilk Starter, we recommend making a new batch of buttermilk within 7 days. If a longer break is necessary between batches, preserve some active cultures by freezing or drying. Neither method is completely reliable, but our customers report a fair amount of success with both.
Short Breaks, Up to 4 Weeks
- Put fresh, active buttermilk in clean freezer-safe containers. Ice cube trays are convenient.
- For each cube, add the amount of buttermilk that it will take to culture 1 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon.
- Once frozen, store the cubes in an airtight container in the freezer.
- When ready to make buttermilk again, remove enough from the freezer to make a new batch, 1 cube per cup of fresh milk.
- Thaw before adding buttermilk to prepared milk.
- The longer the buttermilk is frozen, the less potent it will be as a starter culture. It may be necessary to use up to twice the amount if the buttermilk was frozen for 3-4 weeks.
Long Breaks, Up to 3 Months
- Spread a small amount of starter on a piece of unbleached parchment paper.
- Leave the buttermilk to dry in a warm, safe spot no more than 80°F.
- Once it is completely dry, store in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator.
- Under ideal conditions, the starter will keep for up to a few months.
- To rehydrate the buttermilk, follow activation instructions included with the starter.